Memories are funny – especially for someone who has P.T.S.D. Because quite frankly, memories are not the most pleasant thing to experience. It’s not a “Walk down memory lane” It’s more like donning a suit of armor, grabbing an AK-47 and heading straight into the combat zone.
Someone from my past recently got in touch with me. It’s someone I dated when I was between the ages of 16-18. I don’t remember exactly when it was, and we were off and on. I’d just broken up with my first real love – because he left the school we went to and was placed in public school. I was naïve and believed that I would be the one who married him. After that relationship I (for a number of reasons – one of which was the fact that I had been sexually assaulted and was embarrassed and frightened to talk about it…and really never did until I was in my twenties) – I did what a lot of women do and I latched onto men who told me I was pretty, and that they would love to be with me. The catch?
I wasn’t exactly popular, and most of these guys wanted to see me but only if I didn’t tell anyone we were together. In private? I was perfect…In public, their friends would go so far as to bark at me and they would do nothing but laugh. At the time, I thought that’s just how people treated me. I was laughed at a lot. If it were closer to now, the kids would have been probably punished but even twelve years ago the mentality on bullying was just “Kids will be kids” and “You will either stand up for yourself or get over it.” It was a very social Darwin approach. I remember going to one of the school councilors one time in school…in tears. I had spent 3 periods of school getting fake flowers sent to me that were supposedly from this guy that I liked and everyone knew it. The guys decided to each spend money to send me flowers with my crushes name on it. When I found out that I had become that kind of joke…I was sobbing. Inconsolably. I was mortified. The gentlemen then informed me “It was just a joke bitch. Learn to laugh at it or get over it…or go kill yourself, because this is what your life is. No one will ever want to be with you…you’re a total spaz and dating you would be social suicide.” They did all this with a smile. Then when I started crying they all laughed and started taunting me more.
I went to a very intensive college prep school. Highly competitive. The kind of place that former Vice Presidents sent their family. The kind of place where when girls turned sixteen they got BRAND NEW CARS and Breast implants and liposuction. I was short, a little fat and really shy. I loved punk music, swing, ska. They were all into top 40 boring crap. It’s pretty much a down the line description of so many stories we have all heard of lived through. I was a sophomore when Columbine happened. I was a bit gothy and kids started telling people they thought I was going to shoot them cause I “Looked like those psychos”. So…My high school experience was AWESOME. *Rolls her eyes*.
Anyway, this person has been in touch off and on for a few years now. We were talking fine, then he said something that really got to me. Something about how we should get together and he would “Do all those nasty things that he used to.” You know “Because I’m such a slut.” When I told him no and went off on him…finally standing up for myself. Telling him how I never appreciated how he treated me all those years ago. How I hadn’t forgotten that he forced me to basically be his Dirty little secret. How I wasn’t that woman anymore. This pissed him off to the point where he spent six hours verbally abusing me. Telling me how I was just a dumb slut and I needed to know my place. How I probably had a hit list and how he couldn’t wait to tell everyone what a “Slutty Psycho” I was. He berated me. Threatened to put hands on me. Told me never to talk to him again (Which I honored) and since then he’s texted me every few days asking if I’ve “Grown up yet so we can just fuck like he knows I need.”
First of all…I have to say that I HATE Slut Shaming. I think it’s one of the worst kinds of bullying ever to exist. It’s a lot more prevalent than people think and it sends the message that Women who are comfortable in their own skin are only good for one thing. That we deserve to be mistreated and statistically in some parts of the country people still openly admit that they believe that the way a woman’s dressed can mean she’s “Asking to be raped.” I even had one guy flatly tell me “Dressed like that you can’t say no.”
Second, My days of being someone’s punching bag like that are LONG gone. After the some of the experiences I’ve lived through, some too gruesome to detail here – or with anyone but my therapist – I’m just not interested in any man who will lose his temper like that. It’s a HUGE red flag. Especially after something so trivial as trying to discuss something that happened years ago and tell him that I remember and didn’t appreciate it.
He told me the same thing I have been told my whole life “That was fifteen years ago. Get over it you psycho slut.”
I’ve learned a few things in my time on this earth – chief among them is that any chance people get, they will call a woman a slut because even in todays more open world, the word slut still carries the power to damage a womans reputation, sometimes beyond repair.
The sad part about it? It isn’t just men that do this. Women do this to each other ALL THE TIME too.
At the heart of it though – what does the word slut actually mean? To some people it still means a woman who has sex before she’s married. That’s it. To others, it means the woman sells her body, like a prostitute. To others still, it’s a woman who merely dresses “Provocatively”.
I’ve had that word thrown at me directly and indirectly in every situation from what I am discussing here with my former friend to reporting a sexual assault. The detective actually asked me “What were you wearing?” and “Do you think that had anything to do with what happened to you? I mean…Your mouth was saying no but that dress means you would fuck anyone.” In that police report the detective actually wrote down that he didn’t believe my report was credible because of how I was dressed. I had a rape kit done. I had witnesses to the man dragging me away by my arm…People saw me, that I had been obviously drugged, and the detective was MORE concerned with how I was dressed. To him, even though I screamed no, I was trying to fight him off even in my drugged state and the bruises and wounds I sustained proved that…in spite of all of that, The prosecutor deemed me an unfit witness in my own rape because I was…in the opinion of the police officer “Too intoxicated and dressed too provocatively to really credibly say no.”
They didn’t care that I tested positive for roofies, that I had only had one drink, or even that MULTIPLE people heard me saying “No”. It was all about me “Over reacting” and “Dressing like a slut.”
What does all this have to do with an old friend? Well, two of his favorite words right now to refer to me as are “Slut” and “Bitch”.
He does it to call me crazy. To invalidate the things I went through – even going as far as to say (When I told him he was just pissed that I was finally calling him out on how poorly he treated me) that “I never treated you bad. I can’t help it if others did. You need to grow up and move on.”
Well…Fucking excuse me for finally taking back some of the power from a time in my life where I was treated like less than human. As well as being treated like I should just expect that because “With the way you look and think this is what you deserve. You can’t expect, looking like you do – to be treated like other girls.”
WHAT THE F*CK does that mean?!
To him, it seems to mean that because I’m not “traditionally hot” and “Opinionated” as well as being, well, a bitch (Which to me means a good thing. I’m claiming it because women who are called bitches are sometimes very passionate, intelligent and incredibly strong).
The MOST alarming part about this whole thing though? He has said all of this incredibly casually, and I have been told “Well..What do you expect? This is just how this is.”
I don’t understand slut shaming. I mean I do intellectually, and historically, but I don’t understand why it’s accepted and okay.
Even if I WAS a slut. Even if I were selling my body on a street corner – I am still a human being. I deserve to be understood, and heard. I deserve compassion, and believe it or not – I have my own thoughts and opinions. I have a great sense of humor most of the time. I can roll with jokes…I’m not even really that uptight. I don’t consider myself a social justice warrior. I just think I deserve to be treated with the same respect that you would treat anyone else with. Human Decency.
((Don’t believe me about the humor? Look HERE . I love these guys and they joke with me and about me all the time!))
I get this. I play am MMORPG for fun, and I log in regularly to all kinds of harassment. I’ve reported it. I’ve tried to rally support from the community who has basically told me its MY problem and they don’t want to be involved. The Gaming company can see that it’s happening but they don’t IP ban and I’ve been instructed to just “Ignore it and stop causing drama.”
In other words (from the community)…”You are a bitch. You are pushy. We don’t believe you and we won’t go to bat for you. Maybe if you weren’t so pushy we would but this isn’t worth it. You pissed us all off with your incessant whining and victim mentality.”
So really, this is a deeply ingrained problem that is the massive elephant in the living room. People act like they are disgusted by it but when it really comes down to it at the end of the day – no one else wants to deal with it until it falls squarely in their lap or the lap of someone they love.
Bottom line –
The world won’t get any better until we all have the audacity and courage to be KIND to each other. Realize that we are ALL human and that no one is perfect. We have to deal with our issues. Not be afraid to talk about them when they come up and most importantly, we have to be willing to confront this kind of behavior when we see it from ANYONE. Head on. Make sure that people know it’s not acceptable. Not acceptable to do to ANYONE.
Just because a woman likes to dress sexually, it doesn’t make her a whore. Furthermore – even if is is promiscuous, she still deserves the respect to be treated as a human being.
We cannot allow people to continue to be marginalized and treated like second class citizens because of their sexuality, their sexual preference, their gender or gender identity – none of it. We have to be fearless in standing up to this and when people try to tear us down and demean us, no matter how bad it hurts, we can’t put our whole sense of power and well being into these backwards opinions and such. We have to re-learn how to listen to each other.
When we do make mistakes, even if confronted with them fifteen years later, we need to own up to those mistakes and the damages they have caused. A simple “I’m so sorry. I had NO IDEA I ever made you feel that way.” Or A “I will try and not use those words anymore.” Or even just a simple “I’m sorry” without details goes a long way. No one needs to grovel. No one needs to be in this endless sick and twisted power play. All we need to do is just start with the simple yet brave act of being KIND to one another.
On that note, after being bombarded with this kind of hateful speech, being called a bitch, and a whore. Being told that someone needs to “Slap me back into the kitchen where I belong” (He was mad I was ignoring him) this is the song I’d like to close this blog on.
Listen to the music. It always makes me feel just a tiny bit better.
OH..and before I forget…I will be appearing at Indy PopCon this year with the wonderful Crystal street Comics team! Come by the booth…Buy a button and give me a hug. I’ll pose for pics, introduce you to the team and with any luck I’ll have signed prints!
Love you all,